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Sanders Unveils Workplace Democracy Plan to Expand Labor Rights and Double Union Membership

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/21/sanders-unveils-workplace-democracy-plan-expand-labor-rights-and-double-union

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Good Move. When the Unions come back, the middle-class will come back. It’s that simple

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Really good, but I would like a more central role for worker ownership and self-management. There are institutional differences between a worker owned enterprise and a traditional private enterprise, and worker owned enterprises are different in many ways that people on the left would appreciate. They also respond to economic downturns in radically different ways and would almost certainly have better records than corporations in regards to the environment (not to mention the other obvious benefits).

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Yet the polls show Biden as having a double percentage lead over Sanders as a candidate for the Presidency. I can not believe that many Americans are that stupid which suggests to me the pollsters are working another con.

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Worker owned enterprises tend to be more willing to spread the pain. As example if there a downturn rather than 30 percent of the workers being laid off and losing their jobs outright , all of the workers share the pain so no one out of a job.

They tend to emphasize cooperation over competition.

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Exactly. Also, not only are they internally equitable and democratic, but since the workers are expected to do things that business owners tend to do, they often require the worker-owners to obtain skills they otherwise wouldn’t. They also are necessarily place based institutions, while every other private enterprise allows for absentee ownership. You could live in California and own a capitalist enterprise in Chicago, or China for that matter. That is not the case if you are an owner in a worker-enterprise. You live near the enterprise you own and work at, necessarily, and it is necessarily the case that you are more likely to spend locally, bank locally (hopefully at a credit union or, maybe in the future, a municipally owned public bank). Also, since you live and work near the cooperative, you are less likely to be okay with that cooperative creating negative non-market costs, since those costs impact you and your family. If you own a business far from where you live, you are not impacted by the negative environmental impacts the business generates, which means you have less of a personal incentive to lessen those non-market negative externalities.

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During the depression of the 1930’s, the steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio were shut down for about three years or more. One U.S. Steel plant east of there was at 12% capacity. Each worker had one days work per week. Mexican migrant farm workers were stranded in Ohio anf this mill hired them. A humanitarian effort to help them have housing and groceries or an effort to dilute the vote for union.

Iowa workers are 8% unionized. 40 years ago, 15%
Probably none have defined pensions, only 401k plans.
Seniority, worker safety, health care, etc.
John Deere closed their hydraulics factory and moved it to mexico this year. 250 jobs lost.
This follows Caterpillar closing their hydraulics plant in Joliet, Illinois and moving to mexico. This was their really topnotch, show off modern plant. And workers were at $26.00 per hour and almost all had college degrees.

115 years ago, progressives were union plus Teddy Roosevelt.

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Agree. and we can do both - They are not mutually exclusive
Here’s one way

https://www.mondragon-corporation.com/en/

Mondragon is one of the leading Spanish business groups, integrated by autonomous and independent cooperatives with production subsidiaries and corporate offices in 41 countries and sales in more than 150.

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It seems to be that, logically, the more people vote that normally don’t vote, and if a candidate does particularly well with groups that traditionally vote in lower numbers, than those candidates will do better than expected. Bernie last time in Michigan is a good example. When I look at the polls, for one, there are many things that give me pause, but I also think that they are certainly ceilings for candidates like Biden and floors for candidates like Bernie, and possibly Warren. Again though, depends on whether or not people that tend to vote in lower numbers actually vote. But, regardless, I find the polls for Biden to be depressing and maddening. He has a far right wing record, is openly corrupt (not only started his campaign at the home of telecom lobbyists but shortly thereafter gave a speech promising those interests that nothing would change if elected), he has gotten a large chunk of his money from the first month or so he announced (which means very little grassroots support) and a good portion of the money he has is from rich donors and he has a mountain of issues that will come out in the general. His obvious cognitive decline, his creepy behavior (tons more in the waiting) and long list of stupid comments, his long list of destructive policies (which have not been discussed tons by the media but would come out in the general election) and the total lack of enthusiasm among the public. I think the Democrats have a horrible record of picking good candidates, and many of them seem to not do much research or critical thinking of their own. They get fed propaganda and repeat the propaganda with little thought.

I hated Clinton as a candidate, but she runs circles around Biden in regards to how good of a candidate she was. She was horrible, he is even worse. The thought of a Biden vs. Trump election is depressing, but a good end to this dying system.

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Agreed in principle, but I wish we could dump the term “middle class.” As I’ve posted elsewhere, it’s a wedge, designed to divide the working class against itself.

There’s no midddle on a paycheck–either you sign the front, as a member of the bourgeosie, or the back, as a member of the proletariat. As the old union song asks, “Which Side Are You On?” (not directed at you personally)

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I think it WILL , in fact, end this system if Caligula manages to keep his job.

I like Mondragon a lot, but it has had some recent issues, in particular in regards to increasingly hiring non-owners. Mondragon is now operating outside of Spain, and more of its workforce is traditionally hired labor. Economists that study cooperatives call that “degeneration”. There are examples of successful cooperatives that saw original cooperative owners leave, to be replaced by non-cooperative owners. If that continues indefinitely, the cooperative becomes a traditional business over time. Small law firms, for example, are often cooperatively owned. But if they grow, they hire admin staff and eventually possibly HR staff, who are often not owners. Mondragon is not at that point, and it is aware of the issue. I think, a few years ago, it capped how many people can work within the enterprise that are non-owners. But even if it stays a cooperative, if it gets large enough, the internal democracy necessarily has to go from a direct democracy to a representative one, and that can cause some internal problems if the representatives don’t alternate and change often. But there are multiple studies showing that many of the myths with cooperatives are not true. They are larger than assumed, studies show lower business failure rates, they are often more capital intensive than traditional enterprises and there are many studies showing productivity gains from cooperatives vs. traditional capitalist enterprises.

Any rate, there are many cities in the US supporting cooperatives (Oakland, Minneapolis, Madison, New York, Austin, among others), and Berkeley is one leading.

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The d-party is essentially centrist including its base, who, despite favoring leftie many policies, also support Israel, the military, the church, and an anti-immigrant agenda.

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Obama couldn’t be bothered to “put on his walking shoes” for those freezing workers in Wisconsin.

To forget that leaders can be bought or coerced despite the best intentions, is to repeat the past mistakes of labor.

If its not direct, its not democracy.

The polls must be approved by the DNC before they are released to the media.

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One thing we have today is plenty of alternatives. Here is one of many:

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About $19,000 more income for about 135 million workers, or $2.6 trillion lost in income! Since 1980 the ratio of income distribution has worsened for the lower-earning 90%, says a study by Olivier Giovannoni at Levy Economics Institute. Their share of total income decreased from 55% to 38%, says his study “What Do We Know About the Labor Share and the Profit Share? Part III”. – http://www.levyinstitute.org/publications/what-do-we-know-about-the-labor-share-and-the-profit-share-part-3-measures-and-structural-factors — I’d say about 135 million workers are the lower-earning 90%, and they have lost about $19,518 in annual income for each employee. Multiply the two numbers to get $2.635 trillion. For 40 years, 1940 to 1980, his graph shows the ratio held around 55% distributed to the lower 90%. The only practical way to restore the ratio is to empower workers with bargaining rights that were taken away by “judicial amendment” when courts stripped the original Wagner Act of its pro-worker components. I show the graph at this blog: http://benL8.blogspot.com – This Sanders proposal is powerful. It could restore a middle class.

Polls should not be trusted, especially if they are conducted by the M$M. Remember that polls during 2016 said that Hillary would easily beat Trump and look where we are now.

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I agree. Middle class has so much loose change on either end we don’t know who we are actually talking about. And I like the way you worded your post. A touch of poetry in those words.

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